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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Clan Alba!

From the musical project "Clan Alba" derived a double album that is Scottish folk-rock at its highest levels. It is interesting to learn how it started and bloomed from the memories of one of founder members,

[Il progetto "Clan Alba" ha dato vita ad un doppio album che costituisce per me la massima espressione del folk-rock.
E' interessante rivisitare la nascita della formazione dal racconto di uno dei membri fondatori,]

Dick Gaughan:
In the early 90s, I was going through one of my periodic bouts in which I realise playing music is basically a cooperative art and I was frustrated being exclusively solo. One night I was booked to play a gig in the NE of England together with the wonderful Scottish duo, Patsy Seddon and Mary MacMaster, known as Sileas. Davy Steel was travelling with Sileas and as it was a very small club we had to sit in the front row, right under their noses, while they did their set. It suddenly occurred to me that what I was listening to could well form the core of a rather large ensemble. I invited them to join me to play Both Sides the Tweed and the sound of those two harps and the superb counterpoints Patsy and Mary play so well filled my head and my imagination began to run riot.
I had always wanted to work again with Dave Tulloch and I had worked a lot with Mike Travis - the idea of getting them together excited me. They both had played a lot of jazz and were therefore very creative and open to new possibilities and Dave and I had an intuitive musical understanding from all our experience of being together in Five Hand Reel. Brian McNeill was an obvious addition to that lineup, as was Davy Steel, and we added Gary West, who had worked with Davy in Ceolbeg.
Archie Fisher was at that time the Director of the Edinburgh Folk Festival and he was interested enough in the idea of Clan Alba to book us for the Festival. Cy Laurie, owner of the Tron Bar in Edinburgh, let us use the downstairs room in the pub to rehearse in and we moved in there for a week. It was clear that with the amount of experience in that lineup, whatever came out of it would be good enough to do the Festival concert but it soon became clear that we were coming up with some very exciting ideas. The Edinburgh gig was wonderful and Clan Alba ("The Children of Scotland") became a reality. Gary decided that his studies meant he couldn't afford the time the band demanded so he left and Fred Morrison came in.
I had become a partner in Redesdale Studios in Northumberland and we moved in there to start recording. We all lived in the studio for the first ten days of working, putting in at least 14 hours a day, and it was one of the most amazing times I have ever experienced. The creative energy of 8 very experienced and inventive musicians was let loose and I regard it as a great privilege to have been part of it.

The release and marketing of the album turned into a nightmare which I cannot go into here but it still makes me angry and was the cause of my terminating all dealings with CM Distribution. And it made it impossible for the band to continue.

Thanks to fiend gaeiliccara for posting on Youtube!

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